It is possible that you have seen this in drum music. The notation method of steps-up/down is common, if not standard, in Scottish pipe band music. It gives me a headache thinking about trying to read it that way though!So wait.. When you guys chart stuff, you're not using to tail/stem up/down to hint the lead handedness of a note/phrase? You're literally writing R/L/U?
EDIT: I just realized that this might be a carryover from my guitar days where it is used to hint up/down stroke on the beginning of a phrase.